Brake Composite F.26
The last of seven similar brake composite carriages delivered from the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co., Ltd., of Saltley Works in Birmingham in 1896, this example has survived in regular use throughout the history of the railway and remains part of the core fleet today.
It received a full exterior repaint in early 2023 in the post-war red and cream colour scheme and re-entered traffic towards the start of the season. Of note, it had the purple lake livery applied in 1985 complete with boards across the length of the roof on each side in an attempt to make the profiles appear the same height at the younger stock but this was found to retain water causing damage to the timber of the roof and removed; several carriages had this applied and later removed.
Prior to this it carried the nationalisation maroon scheme complete with yellow lettering of the period. Internally a guards' compartment at the southern end of the carriage is followed by two double third class compartments with waist height partitons and one single third class compartment at the other end, making it similar to F.18 which is also in traffic. The two can be distinguished by the roof, F.18 having been fitted with a new one in 1989 while F.26 retains the original with panelled over boarding.
Above: F.26 as it appeared in the nationalisation livery of maroon and cream with yellow stick-on lettering in 1979, the fleet numbers appearing on the central panel, being common at the time. The lower case lettering was typical of the period and survived in this guise until painting into purple lake in 1985.